THE CALM BEFORE... Once upon a time, a mentally unstable German man wrote a book. No, not Hitler you stupid fuck. He was Austrian. In said book, the German proclaimed that your species was not descended from apes but rather devolved from them. Your ancestors somehow discovered that the consumption of the brain produced a powerful aphrodisiac effect, and things got a little bit out of hand from there. He outlined, in rather excessive detail, the ways in which your ape-grandparents organised brain hunts against rival groups, slaughtering and consuming their targets in an orgy of sex and violence. But this rampant cannibalism had other effects, the German did claim. Your ancestors' brains began to expand, rapidly. Too rapidly. Their intelligence grew, they lost the hair on their bodies and apparently the “innate psychic connection” to the planet that your ancestors possessed went too. Modern man came to be, practising cannibalism up until 50,000 years ago if the German is to be believed. Hell of a claim, for a book without any sources cited and which was apparently written under the influence of powerful hallucinogenics at a Chinese monastery. But the German didn't just stop with re-writing your species' accepted origin. He also prophesied it's end. Apparently humanity is now irrevocably mad, thanks to your former psychic ties to the planet being cut. Hence the destruction of entire habitats (wasteful), the rapidly-expanding urban landfill (ugly), the violence and savagery (idiot children rutting in the mud, all of you). Soon, it's all going to catch up to you. Soon, it'll all come to a head. Soon, said the German, you'll be eating each other again... “But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock...” - The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allan Poe CLOSE TO MIDNIGHT CLUB CONSUMPTION SOMEWHERE IN SOHO, LONDON This is the fifth time Andrew 'Jonesy' Jones has visited the nightclub's bathrooms since the stag night arrived here around half an hour ago. It's not the quality of the place that keeps drawing him in here, for it is entirely lacking in that. It is musty and drab, the smell of stale piss and spilled drinks lingering like a fog, the walls coated in cheap, grubby mirrors to ensure the optimum amount of bathroom existential crises. The stall doors hang loosely, boot-prints on their outsides a telling sign as to how they came to be in this state, and the urinals look like they're about to fall off the walls at the slightest provocation. He's not here for the quality of the company, either, for it too can be found wanting. Drunken students decked out in their Saturday best, barely capable of standing nevermind aiming. Gaggles of Lads, matching chinos and designer polo-shirts that strain against the watermelons they've managed to stuff up their arms, sauntering about in little huddles. Ageing, 30-something business wankers who have yet to receive the memo that they are too old to be behaving like this, all comb-overs to hide the bald patches and excessively expensive outfits to compensate for the fact that they're a bunch of miserable old has-beens desperately clinging to the glory days of their youth. No, Jonesy isn't here for any of that. He's here because it's a godsend compared to being out there. Out there is not a place a guy like Jonesy has any business being in. Jonesy is a simple man, these days; he likes a beer-garden and a decent pint of lager, some nice wee establishment with a predisposition towards wooden panelling and craft beer, maybe one of those trendy new bars at a push. Out there, however, you will find none of that. All that out there can promise is noise. Pure noise. A certified audio assault on your ear-drums that aims to give you tinnitus by the end of the night, a coked-up DJ screaming inaudibly into a microphone for the assembled dance-floor attendees. Figures in skin-tight skirts that leave literally nothing to the imagination gyrating to music that will be popular and relevant for the next 24 hours and then forgotten forever. Drinks that cost more than most sweat-shop workers make in three years, handed over haphazardly assuming you can get the attention of the unfortunate bastards working behind the bar at all. No, Jonesy is starting to come to the conclusion that if there is such a thing as a personal Hell, out there is what his could well look like. At least in here, amidst the stale piss and faded business wankers, he can escape his fate for two or three minutes. Perhaps a few more, if he takes his sweet time about it. But it's a delaying tactic, and nothing more. When you're the brother of the bride, it seems that you are obligated by ancient familial bonds that stretch back into the mists of antiquity to stick with his almost-brother-in-law's stag party till it's bitter end, likely winding up responsible for said almost-brother-in-law's safety as his mates ply him with drinks (something they've been doing with rigorous fervour since the early afternoon). With a sigh that comes out more like a grumble, Jonesy tugs at the zip of his fly and gives his hands a cursory splash in the battered sinks tucked into the corner. Then he shuffles to the doors, his gait and demeanour not too dissimilar from the heretics that they would burn at the stake not too far from where he is now. What a lovely history London has, after all. Jonesy stands at the doors, the muted pounding of the speakers out there still succeeding in giving him the beginnings of a headache. As he shoulders it open and steps out into the main room of the club the sound hits him like a wave, crashing over him, enveloping him, drowning out any other sound. This is the sort of place where you can barely hear yourself think, never mind the words from the person standing right next to you. He laments to himself just how long a night this is going to be. The delicious irony of this thought is sadly lost on his miserable, undersized ape brain.